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Erlina Ortiz, the playwright behind 'La Egoista' and 'Young Money'. Photo courtesy of Erlina Ortiz.
Erlina Ortiz, the playwright behind 'La Egoista' and 'Young Money'. Photo courtesy of Erlina Ortiz.

Two works by local playwright Erlina Ortiz receive national recognition

Philly-based playwright Erlina Ortiz’s work has received national recognition and acclaim.

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Playwright Erlina Ortiz hails from Reading, Pennsylvania. The Dominican-American writer, performer, and theater-maker has had two of her works acknowledged nationally this year.

The co-artistic director of Power Street Theatre, Ortiz’s plays include Silueta, Morir Sonyando, Las Mujeres, MinorityLand, She Wore Those Shoes, and Honey Bee Baby among others.

Ortiz’s play La Egoista will be featured in the 2022 Latinx Theatre Commons (LTC) Comedy Carnival. The Comedy Carnaval runs from June 9 - 11 this Summer in Denver, Colorado.

The LTC Comedy Carnaval is proponent of the nationally-based movement, the Latinx Theatre Commons

Described as a flagship project of HowlRound, the LTC is a commons-based approach to transforming American theater and its narrative.

In a statement, LTC describes their Comedy Carnaval as spotlighting “some of the best Latinx comedic talent in the country in a myriad of formats, including three full-length play readings, a late night of stand-up and solo performances, and three sketch comedies performances.”

A number of talented artists will be featured in the LTC Comedy Carnaval alongside Ortiz. 

Ortiz’s featured work La Egoista tells the story of carefree, budding stand-up comic Josefine and her conservative sister Betsaida. 

The one-act play explores the sisters and their relationship as Betsaida is diagnosed with a chronic illness, and as Josefine pursues her work.

Developed at Live & In Color, La Egoista utilizes “comedy, puppets, magic, and memory to explore the cost of caregiving, the different ways we process grief, and how to find the balance between selfless and selfish.”

This year, Ortiz also won an American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) award. This year, the ATCA has awarded $40,000 in prizes to four playwrights.

The four playwrights include Ortiz, Chiara Atik, Makasha Copeland, and David Templeton. Copeland won for Extreme Home Makeover, which premiered in Philly’s Theatre Exile.

Ortiz was awarded a $7,500 prize and a Steinberg/ATCA citation for her play Young Money. The play centers on a hip-hop artist and her cleaning lady when caught in a crisis.

Young Money premiered at Philly’s Azuka Theatre during the Fall of last year.

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